1. Ten Dimensions of Creative Climate
Summary of research by Dr. Göran Ekvall

During the 1970’s and 1980’s Göran Ekvall conducted surveys across 27 organizations. His research has been repeated and built upon in the US and other countries since then. Ekvall was trying to identify factors of psychological climate that influence creativity and innovation.

The following ten dimensions heavily influence innovative outcomes. Nine of the dimensions are positively correlated with innovation and Conflict is inversely correlated.

Challenge/Engagement - How involved are people in daily operations, long term goals and vision?
Freedom - To what degree do people act independently within the organization?
Trust/Openness - How safe do people feel emotionally?
Idea Time - How much time is allocated to coming up with and working on new ideas?
Playfullness & Humor - To what degree do employees exhibit spontaneity and ease in the workplace? 
Idea Support - How are new ideas treated?
Open Debate - Is there room for healthy disagreement?
Risk Taking - How much is uncertainty and ambiguity tolerated?
Dynamism - How many different types of things are going on? Do employees feel stimulated?
Conflict - Are there interpersonal and emotional tensions?
Which dimension do you believe isthe most critical in your organization?

Sources:
Organizational climate for creativity and innovation
Image courtesy of Virginia Lee Montgomery of ImageThink.

    Ten Dimensions of Creative Climate

    Summary of research by Dr. Göran Ekvall


    During the 1970’s and 1980’s Göran Ekvall conducted surveys across 27 organizations. His research has been repeated and built upon in the US and other countries since then. Ekvall was trying to identify factors of psychological climate that influence creativity and innovation.


    The following ten dimensions heavily influence innovative outcomes. Nine of the dimensions are positively correlated with innovation and Conflict is inversely correlated.


    1. Challenge/Engagement - How involved are people in daily operations, long term goals and vision?
    2. Freedom - To what degree do people act independently within the organization?
    3. Trust/Openness - How safe do people feel emotionally?
    4. Idea Time - How much time is allocated to coming up with and working on new ideas?
    5. Playfullness & Humor - To what degree do employees exhibit spontaneity and ease in the workplace?
    6. Idea Support - How are new ideas treated?
    7. Open Debate - Is there room for healthy disagreement?
    8. Risk Taking - How much is uncertainty and ambiguity tolerated?
    9. Dynamism - How many different types of things are going on? Do employees feel stimulated?
    10. Conflict - Are there interpersonal and emotional tensions?

    Which dimension do you believe is
    the most critical in your organization?


    Sources:


    See full post and discussion
    Posted: 8 months ago
  2. The Modern Renaissance Person
By Shane Sasnow

At the 2010 Cre8Camp in Portland Oregon I facilitated a conversation about what it means to be a modern renaissance person. It was an interesting and informative conversation overall.

We talked about what it meant to be a renaissance man historically, how modern renaissance people differ from the historical model, peoples personal experiences as ‘renaissance’ types in the modern world, what it means and how to enact it. One of the things I find most interesting is that it’s impossible to really be a renaissance person because the renaissance is long past. In another few hundred years they will look back upon our time and see a few geniuses and label them something…but it probably wont be ‘renaissance person’.

The group offered these characteristics of the original renaissance men:

They had patrons
  Multiple or spectrum of talents
  They spanned what we now define as arts and science
  Versatility
  Generalist
  Uninhibited
  synthesizer
  Inventor
  Outside the box
  Maverick/renegade
  Applier
Then the group added these characteristics for the modern ‘renaissance’ person:

Risk taker
  Cutting/bleeding edge
  Culturally curious
  Visionary
  Entrepreneur
  Well connected
  Specialist in 3 to 4 fields
  Jack of all trades (variety of box oriented things)
  Understanding their capacities
After hearing stories from many of the audience members some themes showed up about being a modern creative (possible renaissance type person):

Corporate structure is detrimental.
  Some people are able to get more done and sleep less (this is an advantage).
  We are aggressive learners and like to be constantly stimulated; which is great and dangerous in a world where information is endless and fascinating (both an advantage and a disadvantage simultaneously) and runs the risk of keeping you from ever producing anything because we spend our time learning everything.
  It’s challenging to sell “new” (just learned and good) skills when people expect expertise only from years of experience.
  We are able to identify a huge list of things we don’t want to, or can’t, learn.
  It’s so easy to dabble in many things how do you differentiate yourself as a skillful modern renaissance person?
  We are largely sole proprietors and entrepreneurs…some by choice and some because there is no other way to function in the world.
  It’s challenging to sell yourself when you have a non-traditional skill set mix.
The finale of the conversation was determining how to be effective as a modern renaissance person:

Find a balance between intake (learning) and output (creating).
  PASSION is KEY in everything you do.
  2-4 areas of high level specialized skill based on your passion (with the understanding that some skill sets will become obsolete or outdated and may need to be replaced)
  Don’t be too humble…you got to get your stuff (whatever it is) out there for people to see…get a portfolio.
In the end the title is unimportant. What is important is that you CREATE, CREATE, CREATE. Once you have mastered some skills well enough to execute them effectively use them to make stuff. Then cross pollinate your skill sets and make stuff that others haven’t made before.

To all who were involved in the conversation, Thank you. It was most enjoyable.

    The Modern Renaissance Person

    By Shane Sasnow


    At the 2010 Cre8Camp in Portland Oregon I facilitated a conversation about what it means to be a modern renaissance person. It was an interesting and informative conversation overall.


    We talked about what it meant to be a renaissance man historically, how modern renaissance people differ from the historical model, peoples personal experiences as ‘renaissance’ types in the modern world, what it means and how to enact it. One of the things I find most interesting is that it’s impossible to really be a renaissance person because the renaissance is long past. In another few hundred years they will look back upon our time and see a few geniuses and label them something…but it probably wont be ‘renaissance person’.


    The group offered these characteristics of the original renaissance men:


    1. They had patrons
    2. Multiple or spectrum of talents
    3. They spanned what we now define as arts and science
    4. Versatility
    5. Generalist
    6. Uninhibited
    7. synthesizer
    8. Inventor
    9. Outside the box
    10. Maverick/renegade
    11. Applier

    Then the group added these characteristics for the modern ‘renaissance’ person:


    1. Risk taker
    2. Cutting/bleeding edge
    3. Culturally curious
    4. Visionary
    5. Entrepreneur
    6. Well connected
    7. Specialist in 3 to 4 fields
    8. Jack of all trades (variety of box oriented things)
    9. Understanding their capacities

    After hearing stories from many of the audience members some themes showed up about being a modern creative (possible renaissance type person):


    • Corporate structure is detrimental.
    • Some people are able to get more done and sleep less (this is an advantage).
    • We are aggressive learners and like to be constantly stimulated; which is great and dangerous in a world where information is endless and fascinating (both an advantage and a disadvantage simultaneously) and runs the risk of keeping you from ever producing anything because we spend our time learning everything.
    • It’s challenging to sell “new” (just learned and good) skills when people expect expertise only from years of experience.
    • We are able to identify a huge list of things we don’t want to, or can’t, learn.
    • It’s so easy to dabble in many things how do you differentiate yourself as a skillful modern renaissance person?
    • We are largely sole proprietors and entrepreneurs…some by choice and some because there is no other way to function in the world.
    • It’s challenging to sell yourself when you have a non-traditional skill set mix.

    The finale of the conversation was determining how to be effective as a modern renaissance person:


    • Find a balance between intake (learning) and output (creating).
    • PASSION is KEY in everything you do.
    • 2-4 areas of high level specialized skill based on your passion (with the understanding that some skill sets will become obsolete or outdated and may need to be replaced)
    • Don’t be too humble…you got to get your stuff (whatever it is) out there for people to see…get a portfolio.

    In the end the title is unimportant. What is important is that you CREATE, CREATE, CREATE. Once you have mastered some skills well enough to execute them effectively use them to make stuff. Then cross pollinate your skill sets and make stuff that others haven’t made before.


    To all who were involved in the conversation, Thank you. It was most enjoyable.


    See full post and discussion
    Posted: 12 months ago
  3. Apples or Oranges? Solve it with Janusian Thinking!
By Remo Nuzzolese

Janus was the first God in ancient Rome, worshipped hundreds of years before Christianity, he was probably the most important of all deities that populated the roman Pantheon. Janus, or Ianus in latin, was The Creator, God of beginnings and transitions, he presided doors, bridges, new enterprises and he is still giving his name to the first month of the year, January. He embodied elements of change and movement and because these are bidirectional, the God was symbolized with a two-faced head with the two faces looking at opposite directions, able to oversee past and future, left and right, in and out, two different states at the same time.

From here, Janusian Thinking, which is the ability to integrate conflicting elements with a unifying thought giving birth to a new idea that is coherent with the original elements and wider than them.

Many great thinkers in history have proven to – consciously or not – think and create in a Janusian way in the fields of science, politics and the arts: Einstein’s relativity theory, Louis Pasteur’s vaccine, Escher’s paradoxical images and the Mona Lisa’s enigmatic smile are just a few well known examples: a falling object can be perceived as steady, a poison can be its own remedy, a stream of water that falls as it ascends a tower, and so on…

Even easier to recognize it in some popular commercials: “Tough on Dirt - Gentle on Fabrics (Whirlpool Washers)”, “Bet You Can’t Say No to Yes (Dannon Yogurt)” and “Devilishly Good Taste, 90 Saintly Calories (Baskin Robbins Ice Cream).

Religions and spirituality are full of examples of opposing coexisting forces: God and Evil, Nirvana and Samsara and then we have this beautiful symbol, the Tao that integrates Ying and Yang, opposite energies functioning simultaneously as a unified larger principle.

So, how do we relate Janusian thinking to creativity and problem solving? We already know that creativity is also about connecting elements that are distant, putting things together in a new way to develop an original product. Now, imagine how much stronger and radical the answer to a problem would be if it could solve the original problem and its opposite. Janusian thinking is about increasing the complexity of a situation and use it to find more opportunities, is about thinking holistically in terms of AND rather than EITHER-OR without creating a separation between elements that are really not apart and refusing false trade-off between factors that can be integrated in one solution.

Next time you are facing a difficult problem that presents conflicting elements, imagine which are the commonalities, in which wider frame can you include both elements? It’s like being able to choose apples, oranges and the basket too.

These are some of the authors that I researched to write this post; you can easily Google them to dive deep in their interesting literature:

Albert Rothenberg
Blasko and Mokwa
Annamaria Testa
Chen Yao Kao
Chang Dao Wen

    Apples or Oranges? Solve it with Janusian Thinking!

    By Remo Nuzzolese


    Janus was the first God in ancient Rome, worshipped hundreds of years before Christianity, he was probably the most important of all deities that populated the roman Pantheon. Janus, or Ianus in latin, was The Creator, God of beginnings and transitions, he presided doors, bridges, new enterprises and he is still giving his name to the first month of the year, January. He embodied elements of change and movement and because these are bidirectional, the God was symbolized with a two-faced head with the two faces looking at opposite directions, able to oversee past and future, left and right, in and out, two different states at the same time.


    From here, Janusian Thinking, which is the ability to integrate conflicting elements with a unifying thought giving birth to a new idea that is coherent with the original elements and wider than them.


    Many great thinkers in history have proven to – consciously or not – think and create in a Janusian way in the fields of science, politics and the arts: Einstein’s relativity theory, Louis Pasteur’s vaccine, Escher’s paradoxical images and the Mona Lisa’s enigmatic smile are just a few well known examples: a falling object can be perceived as steady, a poison can be its own remedy, a stream of water that falls as it ascends a tower, and so on…


    Even easier to recognize it in some popular commercials: “Tough on Dirt - Gentle on Fabrics (Whirlpool Washers)”, “Bet You Can’t Say No to Yes (Dannon Yogurt)” and “Devilishly Good Taste, 90 Saintly Calories (Baskin Robbins Ice Cream).


    Religions and spirituality are full of examples of opposing coexisting forces: God and Evil, Nirvana and Samsara and then we have this beautiful symbol, the Tao that integrates Ying and Yang, opposite energies functioning simultaneously as a unified larger principle.


    So, how do we relate Janusian thinking to creativity and problem solving? We already know that creativity is also about connecting elements that are distant, putting things together in a new way to develop an original product. Now, imagine how much stronger and radical the answer to a problem would be if it could solve the original problem and its opposite. Janusian thinking is about increasing the complexity of a situation and use it to find more opportunities, is about thinking holistically in terms of AND rather than EITHER-OR without creating a separation between elements that are really not apart and refusing false trade-off between factors that can be integrated in one solution.


    Next time you are facing a difficult problem that presents conflicting elements, imagine which are the commonalities, in which wider frame can you include both elements? It’s like being able to choose apples, oranges and the basket too.


    These are some of the authors that I researched to write this post; you can easily Google them to dive deep in their interesting literature:



    See full post and discussion
    Posted: 1 year ago
  4. Brainwriting
A Collaboration Tool for Introverts
By Costa Michailidis

“Innovation is for a few ‘special’ people.”

“Creativity is innate. You either have it, or you don’t!”

Part of the work we do at Innovation Bound is bust myths like these, and one of our favorite myths, that has percolated more recently, is the notion that collaboration is bad for innovation, and that true breakthroughs are made solo. Why would the individual, group, or crowd be “the best medium for innovation?” Powerful innovations have resulted from all three of these, and context (the challenge at hand, available resources, et cetera) clearly plays a critical role. We dug a little deeper and came to an interesting challenge: How can groups have effective fair collaborations that are not dominated by strong personalities and extroverted behavior?

A Quiet Idea Generation Tool

The solution we’ve found most effective is an exercise called Brainwriting. It is a powerful way to quickly generate and build on one another’s ideas. Here’s how it’s done:

Take a few sheets of paper and draw Tic-Tac-Toe grids on them, so that each sheet is divided up into nine boxes.
      Hand one of these sheets to each participant.
      Assuming you’ve already phrased a challenge for which to generate solutions, have each participant write out three ideas for solutions; one in each of the top three boxes.
      As participants finish, they can place their sheets in the center of the table, and take sheets other participants have placed in the center.
      With a new sheet in hand, top row filled out, participants should build on each of the three ideas in the top row, and write down the new ideas in the second row.
      Repeat this process until all nine boxes on all of the sheets are filled out.
If you need more ideas, you can use larger grids. Participants can build on each others ideas very directly, or just be “inspired by” the other ideas on the sheet. You can also do the exact same exercise on a Google Spreadsheet live online from different geographical locations.

Doing the work that we do has shown us time and time again that there is always a way to overcome obstacles, to tackle challenges, and to reach our goals. Don’t let common myths get in your way.

Sources:

The style of brainwriting described in our article is adapted from the original developed by Professor Bernd Rohrbach in 1968.
We thank Bruce Campbell for his elegant sculpture: Untitled (Nervous System).

    Brainwriting

    A Collaboration Tool for Introverts

    By Costa Michailidis


    “Innovation is for a few ‘special’ people.”


    “Creativity is innate. You either have it, or you don’t!”


    Part of the work we do at Innovation Bound is bust myths like these, and one of our favorite myths, that has percolated more recently, is the notion that collaboration is bad for innovation, and that true breakthroughs are made solo. Why would the individual, group, or crowd be “the best medium for innovation?” Powerful innovations have resulted from all three of these, and context (the challenge at hand, available resources, et cetera) clearly plays a critical role. We dug a little deeper and came to an interesting challenge: How can groups have effective fair collaborations that are not dominated by strong personalities and extroverted behavior?


    A Quiet Idea Generation Tool


    The solution we’ve found most effective is an exercise called Brainwriting. It is a powerful way to quickly generate and build on one another’s ideas. Here’s how it’s done:


    • Take a few sheets of paper and draw Tic-Tac-Toe grids on them, so that each sheet is divided up into nine boxes.
    • Hand one of these sheets to each participant.
    • Assuming you’ve already phrased a challenge for which to generate solutions, have each participant write out three ideas for solutions; one in each of the top three boxes.
    • As participants finish, they can place their sheets in the center of the table, and take sheets other participants have placed in the center.
    • With a new sheet in hand, top row filled out, participants should build on each of the three ideas in the top row, and write down the new ideas in the second row.
    • Repeat this process until all nine boxes on all of the sheets are filled out.

    If you need more ideas, you can use larger grids. Participants can build on each others ideas very directly, or just be “inspired by” the other ideas on the sheet. You can also do the exact same exercise on a Google Spreadsheet live online from different geographical locations.


    Doing the work that we do has shown us time and time again that there is always a way to overcome obstacles, to tackle challenges, and to reach our goals. Don’t let common myths get in your way.


    Sources:

    • The style of brainwriting described in our article is adapted from the original developed by Professor Bernd Rohrbach in 1968.
    • We thank Bruce Campbell for his elegant sculpture: Untitled (Nervous System).

    See full post and discussion
    Posted: 1 year ago
  5. Creative Collaboration


    A senior leader at a luxury apparel designer wanted to revitalize her team and create greater creative collaboration with other areas of the organization. An innovation event and a period of coaching served as the mechanisms by which the team identified key goals and obstacles and implemented a plan that lead to greater effectiveness and employee satisfaction.


    See full post and discussion
    Posted: 1 year ago